Inghams Italy Advent- 11 dicembre
Fri Dec 2014
Presepe vivente – Living nativity scene
We have already written about the tradition of Nativity scenes in Italy, on Day 4 of our Advent Calendar. Handmade nativity scenes with little statues decorate almost every Italian house at Christmas. But having a presepe in the living room is not enough!
Italians are especially fond of living nativity scenes. These live performances are at very heart of many communities’ Christmas celebrations, They may be small and held in front of the church or involve thousands of actors in the recreation of an entire ancient village scene.
It is said that this tradition was initiated by St Francis of Assisi, who organised a theatrical performance in a cave near Greccio in 1223. He involved both humans and animals in his representation of stories from the Bible. Modern living nativity scenes concentrate on the account of the birth of Jesus and may be implemented with additional characters.
Participating or watching the living nativity scene with family and friends in an important social event for Italian believers. It helps creating a stronger bond and a sense of belonging to the community, but also to a shared universal history. Living nativity scenes are often performed after the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, when Catholics gather to await the birth of Jesus.
Have a look at this video of the presepe vivente organised every year in the village of Pezze di Greco in Puglia, near our hotel Masseria Torre Coccaro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZLxzIOO-ps